THUNDERTHIRDS ARE GO!
James Doran's band of brothers put on a FAB show. Ian 'the hoodie' Smith reports.
The 3s held centre stage on Saturday as the only home team, captain Doran was in a motivated mood leading the warm up 30 minutes before the opposition even arrived, omens were good when James won the toss and the 3s kicked with the wind to open the half.
Port were straight into the game and after strong tackles from Henry, Dolan and Garner Jones the home side were awarded a penalty that was converted by Fitzpatrick. Southport applied more pressure after the restart with powerful runs from Spence and Roberts enabling the free running Fearns to dance around the opposition for his first score. The pack was playing well and a series of pick and go’s from Gillow, Fearns and Smith were making large in roads into the Hoylake defence as Doran martialled his troops keeping the ball in the tight for multiple phases. Hoylake were a strong team and were competing well at the set piece with their athletic number 8 controlling the ball at the back of a retreating scrum, breaking well he managed 2 tries in quick succession to bring the scores level. Southport fought back as a frenzy of scoring ensued, Fearns again broke to take his second of the day and then a perfect piece of power and determination saw Dan Lovatt crash over and nearly through the in goal area as he took 2 Hoylake defenders with him.
Hoylake billed themselves as second half team and looked to capitalise on their youth versus the experience of the big Southport pack, they moved the ball wide and were able to utilise numerical advantage scoring twice in the Ruck and Maul corner, Southport were stunned and Doran gathered his team with focused words from the numerous leaders within the team. The home team needed to re assert some control and this came from a massive effort from the tight five as they drove Hoylake off their own ball and proceeded to starve the opposition 8 of opportunity as series of dominant scrums followed driving Hoylake back to their goal line. From Hoylake scrum they were driven back over their goal line with Doran trapping his opposite number in his own in goal, ripping the ball free he was able to channel it to team mate Will Scott-Abbott who was on hand to ground the ball.
With their tails up the home team broke again with Fearns taking tacklers with him as he powered home a fast break from the edge of 22 to complete his hat trick. Southport were on fire now and penetrating runs from Potter and both Spence brothers took Southport close enabling Smith to finish off from very close range more of the same and again Smith found his second from his optimal distance of 2 meters out, Spence wrapped up the scoring with another powerful break from his brother at 10 putting the winger into space. The finest moment was still to come as Hoylake never gave up and led one last break away down the wing, in the distance a stampeding Gillow stormed across the pitch but was just outpaced as he was only able to clip the winger who carried on diving for the line until Spence who had appeared from the other half of the pitch expertly dived in to make a perfect tackle and save the try.
Man of the match went jointly to Ian Smith in the forwards and debutant Josh Spence in the backs.
Another exciting game beckons next week as the 3s host LSH again as the only home team and hope to have a big support to cheer on their 8 game winning streak in the league that now sees them equal on points for second place